ADI News
A Key to Control Hypertension – Low Salt intake and Potassium-Rich Diet

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) has first ever recommended how to combat the global threat of hypertension (BP), that causes more than 7 million deaths every year globally. The new recommendations say adults should consume less than 2,000mg of sodium, or 5gm of salt, and at least 3,510mg of potassium per day.

The latest recommendations are very important for Indians who on average consume 9gm of salt per day. WHO says a person with either elevated sodium level and low potassium levels could be at risk of high BP which further increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke. At present, nearly 139 million Indians suffer from hypertension with a 14% of the total global burden . From 1980-2008, the number of Indians suffering from high BP rose by 87 million. Sodium is found naturally in a variety of foods, including milk and cream (50 mg of sodium per 100 g) and eggs (approximately 80 mg/100 g).

In processed foods it is found, in much higher amounts, such as bread (250 mg/100 g), processed meats like bacon (1,500 mg/100 g), snack foods such as cheese puffs and popcorn (1,500 mg/100 g), as well as in condiments such as soy sauce (7,000 mg/100 g). Potassium-rich foods include: beans and peas (approximately 1,300 mg of potassium per 100 g), nuts (600 mg/100 g), vegetables such as spinach, cabbage and parsley (550 mg/100 g) and fruits such as bananas, papayas and dates (300 mg/100 g). WHO's Dr Francesco Branca said "Currently, most people consume too much sodium and not enough potassium."

This guideline provides the first global, evidence-informed recommendation on the daily consumption of potassium to reduce non-communicable diseases.